David Ortiz might be the best hitter of his generation, but Doug Gottlieb wouldn’t put him in the Hall of Fame – not ahead of Edgar Martinez or Jim Thome, anyway. Yes, Gottlieb believes that Martinez, a career .312 hitter, was just as good in the box as Ortiz, and that Thome, with 612 career homers, was just as good in terms of power – and without the steroid allegations.
Tim Raines? Well, he’s a fan of all three.
“I think all three of them deserve it,” Raines said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “I heard that he was implicated (with) steroids, but if you’re looking at what the guys did on the field, all three of them deserve it to me because they were great, great players. Thome and Martinez were great first basemen. I think the injury kind of forced Martinez to become a DH. And the same thing probably with Thome. I’m not sure with Ortiz if you kind of put him in that great situation as far as defense is concerned. I think that kind of forced him to become a DH. So you look at all three of those guys. You can look at Martinez and Thome as pretty good defenders, and that wasn’t a reason why they become DHs. But if you look at the numbers and offensive numbers, all three of them had great careers.”
So did Raines. He was a seven-time All-Star, a three-time World Series champion, had 2,605 career hits and led the league in steals four times.
And yet, he is not in the Hall of Fame. He appeared on 69.8 percent of ballots last year – just shy of the the 75 percent threshold required for enshrinement.
Why is Raines not in the Hall of Fame?
“A lot of people ask me that question and I don’t really have an answer for it,” Raines said. “If you look at the numbers, if you look at the things that I did on the field, it kind of stacks up with the guys that are already in the Hall of Fame. So I’m not sure why, but I have one more year left to find out of it’s going to happen or not. I have my fingers crossed. Actually, they’ve been crossed for the past three years, but this year a little more than others because I’m so close.”
Gottlieb believes that Raines has been shut out, in part, because he spent most of his career in Montreal, as opposed to a big market in the United States.
“I think it always helps,” Raines said of playing in big markets. “Everybody gets an opportunity to see you play when you’re in those big-market cities. When it comes to the media and getting that opportunity to see you all the time, they don’t necessarily get a chance to do that. They just kind of look at stats and I think sometimes stats don’t alway tell the whole story about a player. When you don’t know, you’re not really sure. And I think that has had an effect on players when it comes to voting.”
Raines also weighed in on the playoff struggles of Clayton Kershaw, who has dominated the regular season throughout his career but has stumbled at times in October.
“I think they’re two totally different seasons,” Raines said. “A lot of times, (it comes down to whether) you’re hot at that time. A lot of times, guys down the stretch get hot and they just carry (the momentum) through the playoffs. But there’s some guys that just don’t play well in the playoffs because of the spotlight. There’s only like four games going on now. Everybody in the world is watching those games, and everybody knows that. It’s a different kind of feeling in the playoffs. It was for me, but I kind of enjoyed the excitement of the playoffs. I enjoyed going up and competing against the best teams in the league. I think some guys – and I’m never going to point a finger at anyone – but some guys just don’t rise to the occasion.”